The Evolution of the Lost Cause

Thomas J. Brown

in Civil War Canon

Published by University of North Carolina Press

Published in print February 2015 | ISBN: 9781469620954
Published online January 2016 | e-ISBN: 9781469623290
The Evolution of the Lost Cause

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This chapter focuses on two monuments in South Carolina, a marble statue honoring fallen Confederate soldiers and a bronze statue honoring Confederate women. The soldier monument declares that it has been “ERECTED BY THE WOMEN OF SOUTH CAROLINA.” The monument to women answers that it was “REARED BY THE MEN OF THE STATE.” Together, these monuments naturalize the South Carolina statehouse and situate the public realm in a timeless order of sexual differentiation and harmony epitomized by the gendering force of war. The monuments also invite fuller examination of the Lost Cause as a public culture through which white southerners debated shifting interpretations of manhood and womanhood. The chapter argues that the application of evolutionary theory to Confederate remembrance accommodated considerable internal conflict and provided a historical synthesis for a wide range of racial, gender, religious, and class dynamics. The process of modernization invigorated the Lost Cause as an organic social myth.

Keywords: Confederate men; Confederate women; monuments; South Carolina; Civil War; manhood; womanhood; Lost Cause; gender; evolutionary theory

Chapter.  13824 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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